Sunday, May 31, 2009

Butterfly catcher

Ali is a little butterfly catcher. She loves catching butterflies and she loves to read about butterflies. When she sees or catches a butterfly she can tell you exactly which of the bazillion types of butterflies it is. (Okay I don't really know how many types of butteflies there are but she probably does.) Here are some pictures of some butterflies she caught on our camping trip and brought home to release. These are owl face butterflies.

A camping we will go...

We went camping for Thursday and Friday night.... somewhere. I thought it would be fun for you who read my blog to guess where it is. And what is a guess without a prize so the first person who guesses correctly... the city near the campground we went to gets some sort of prize. I will decide. If you went there with me please tell me what you remember about the trip.

On Tuesday I will let you know where it is that we went. Here are some pictures to help you figure out where we went. And a couple clues....

#1 We drove there in less than 4 hours.
#2 I have been there with many of you who are reading this blog
#3 Cameron and I have never before been there together although we have both been there seperately.
#4 This place burned both in the 2003 and 2007 fires.

My phone call screaner

Hello... Who is this?
Ashling is in love with answering the phone. She adores it. She has to know exactly where my cell phone and home phone are at all times. She makes dry run answers of the phone. She practices what she will do and tells me how it will go. And she does all this at least 10 times a day.

When one of the phones rings she drops everything and moves with lightning speed to answer it. She says... Hello. Then "who is this?" You are not allowed to talk to me or Cameron until you answer this question. Beware she will keep repeating herself until you say who it is and she tells us who it is. If we accidentaly answer the phone before she does she pouts and cries. So beware all of my phone calls will be screned and if my daughter approves you will be put through to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Annika stats

Just a little update for my baby book which is not made yet but that I will do.... someday. I took Annika to the doctor today and she weighed 13 pounds 13 ounces and was 25 1/2 inches long. She was 50th percentile for weight and 90th for height. She also got her 2nd tooth yesterday. She is growing so fast but I am glad that at least her weight has slowed down!

Happy 7th Birthday Ali!

Yesterday was Ali's 7th Birthday. We had a great day. First we woke up fairly early and went rock climbing. We took a boy from our ward who has been wanting to go for awhile. It was nice to have the extra hands and I think we will take him again. Ali tried rock climbing for her first time. She did not really enjoy it that much. She climbed a little but it felt weird to her to be attached to a rope. She enjoyed climbing the rock the easy way. I have always said that rock climbers are weird and I guess that is true.
Annika just had fun watching and sitting in her seat.
This is Conner
here is Ali trying it out
The girls at the top of the rock via the easy way!

After that Cameron, Ali and Ashling met Chalon and Cam's parents on Keller Peak for a little walk. I didn't go because Annika needed a nap and I needed to finish the cake. They had a good time and found a little water fall.Ashling is wading in the water
Ali is standing on a rock
the girls in the water

Next we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's and had a bar b cue, cake and presents. We then went swimming down the hill and finished the day with a bite to eat at Chili's. It was quite a fun day and we were all tired at the end of it.
Here is my little fishy. Swimming is her favorite thing to do. Just like her mom!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

camping in Bishop

This is our campsite.

We went camping over the weekend with Mike and Sue. It was a lot of fun. They took their trailer and we got to try camping with a trailer. It is a lot easier and fun. Cameron, Annika and I still slept outside but we were able to have more options for cooking inside and enjoyed using the sunshade that the trailer provided. The girls thought that the trailer was an excellent playhouse and it was everything from walmart to their own personal house. They loved to sweep it and Ali liked to guard the door.

Mike and Cameron went up to the Sierras with the intent to fish. And so they fished.

Sue and I along with the kids explored Bishop Canyon, ate some snacks and tried to catch butterflies on Friday morning. I took the kids to Lake Sabrina and they saw a high rock way out there and decided that they needed to climb to the top of it. We found Mike and Cameron and they took Ali with them because she wanted to fish. We went back to the trailer and had a nap. Sue and I read our books and generally relaxed.

Ali came back and told me that she loved fishing. She caught the biggest fish of the trip on her twitty bird pole. A 19 inch long trout that was about 3 pounds. Sue took a picture and when she gives me it I will post it here.

For dinner we had fresh trout and rice. I even liked the fish!

This is Lake Sabrina.

Ali wanted to carry Annika in the backpack. It didn't last long!

On Saturday Cameron and Mike wanted to go fishing in Pine Canyon. They took Ali and Ashling who both wanted to fish with them.
The fisherman

Sue, Annika and I went into Bishop and enjoyed girl talk and a little shopping. We met back up in the afternoon. Sue and Mike took Annika with them and the girls, Cameron and I went to try out the local hot springs pool. We enjoyed a relaxing swim in the pool and got a chance to shower too! It was very fun and we think it should be a tradition to go there everytime we are camping up there. We enjoyed the evening by having enchiladas and then playing settlers of Cataan while the kids watched a movie.

Annika is playing in the tent.

On Sunday we packed up camp and went to see the Buttermilk boulders. We also drove up to Whitney Portal and looked around and hiked a little. Then we drove home.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Annika is 4 months old

Annika is now 4 months old. Some things that she has learned this month are to use her hands with purpose and grab and shake all her toys. She has also learned to roll from her back to her tummy. I put her on her back several times and she just kept practicing rolling to her tummy. She is also looking at things and rolling to get them and moving by scooting on her back. She also received her first tooth while we were on vacation.

She is fun to have around. She is mostly happy and loves to smile and coo at whoever will look at her. She has her favorites: she loves to look at her sisters. She also has spent some time with her grandma Sue and seems to really enjoy being with her. She will stop everything to say hi to daddy when he comes home. I am the favorite of course which is the best part of being a mom.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What goes up... must come down!

The Trip to Butler Peak
May 9th 2009

(A picture of San Bernardino Peak and the ridge to San Gorgonio.)
This story has it all: crying, laughing, screaming, blood, ash,fire ants, avalanche chutes, snakes and even a little bit of bragging. So read on if you are prepared.

I decided that I needed a long workout hike to get in better shape. Cameron has been itching to go up to this place called Butler Peak and I figured that this would be a good choice. Last fall he did a lot of hiking up that way and never had time to make it all the way to the Peak. So we arranged a baby sitter for the older two who whine too much when hiking and move too slowly. We consulted the map and went on a drive and decided the best way to hike it was cross country. There is a road that goes to the top but we weren't sure how long the hike would be or where exactly to go and besides hiking on roads is just not cool. I was reluctantly optimistic about this cross country hike because Cameron had promised "trails" and "roads" and it was all burnt out from the fire in 2007. I figured it couldn't be too bad to hike on roads, trails and burnt out cross country. I guess I should have know better.

We drove to a place called Lake View point and parked. I got Annika out of her car seat and she smiled at me and I realized that she had a very poopy diaper. So we changed her diaper glad she had taken care of business before we began hiking. We started hiking up the trail. I think the fire fighters cut the trail out when they were busy trying to stop the fire from burning down running springs. It was straight up the side of the mountain. They did not bother with switchbacks or anything. After hiking a little ways we came upon about 100 yards of bramble bush. Cameron swears that last fall this was not as grown in but now there was only a faint trail over grown with bushes that sliced up our legs. We struggled through the bushes and finally got on the other side of them.

We made it to the ridge of the mountain after lots of huffing and puffing as we mostly hiked up fire break roads and faint animal trails. (This is a picture of snow valley from the top of the ridge)

At the top of the ridge we realized that now we would have to hike down hill after gaining lots of elevation. We hiked up and down the ridge of the mountain getting closer and closer to the top. At one point Cameron thought we were probably only about a half hour from the top. It looked that close to me too... but looks are very deceiving!(This is a picture of me with lots of burnt out bushes that we had to hike through.)
(A picture from the ridge of Big Bear Lake in the distance)

Annika started to be hungry and we looked for a place to feed her. Cameron found a nice rock in the shade and waited for me to catch up with him. While waiting he realized that the rock was covered in ants. He moved to another rock. The ants came after him there too. I joined him on a third rock but there were ants all over that one too. We abandoned the area. We were on the run trying to find a place without the large fire ants but there was no place. I guess they call them "fire" ants because they like places where there has been a fire and not just for the way they burn when they bite you. One of these creatures make it all the way to my arm and bit me in my arm pit!

Finally we found a small rock in the shade and while I nursed and Cameron tried to fend off the bugs. He did a pretty good job! With Annika fed we began hiking again. This part of the hike was hard because there were burnt out bushes everywhere! Each bush was tall and the ground was littered with branches and small bramble bushes that you had to avoid. I have never had to think about hiking so much! We hiked down into a valley and then hiked up on the ridge. It was slow going though.
(picture of bramble bushes and burnt out bramble bushes that we hiked through.)
(more bramble bushes and steep ridge to the top.)

Finally we saw the road and we found a trail to the top. We quickly hiked the last 200 yards with ease. We climbed up the latter like stairs and walked around the top of the fire lookout placed on top of the peak. We sat down on top and looked out at Lake Arrowhead and Mt. Baldy in the distance and rested.
(we are resting. Can you see how dirty I am? I am relatively clean compared to the end of the hike!)

The feeling of accomplishment was overshadowed for me by the sense of doom that would follow trying to hike back down the way we had come. I couldn't imagine anything worse than have to go down the steep hillsides that we had just hiked up. I really wanted to hike down the road. We called Cameron's dad and had him look at a map and came up with an alternate plan. We would hike "down the ridge" and then catch up with road 2N13, hike about 3 miles and Mike would meet us in Green Valley. I thought that this would be the easy way out.

We took some pictures of us at the top. It is hard to see the acomplishment since we are on a man-made tower and there is a road to the top. But the way we went did not have any roads or trails but was all cross country.

(view to the West. You can see the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.)
(view of San Grogonio and San Bernardino Peaks.)

(The road we should have hiked up.)

(3 accomplished cross-country hikers.)

(Cameron and Annika at the top.)

(I'm resting and holding Annika.)

We then got off the peak and started hiking down the ridge. We hoped it would be just a little ways out of the way and hiked down another fire break road. It didn't last long and soon we were on the steepest ridge I have personally ever been on without a trail. Cameron says it was about a 40 degree angle slope. I thought it was more like an 80 degree slope. Not an actual cliff but very close to one. Then Cameron pointed to the road at least a 1000 feet below us and told me that we had to go there. So we started hiking.

I am a great up hill hiker. I often hike faster up hill than anyone else in the party. I do not like hiking down hill! What I hate even more than hiking down hill is hiking down hill not on a trail! I also do not appreciate hiking down hill not on a trial, with ants, and ash as my closest companions and burnt out sticks tripping me when I walk. Add to that the beating hot sun and the rocks that trip and slip you as you walk and it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. We finally hiked into a chute where there was still snow from the winter's avalanches. I was so tired that I sat down on my butt and slid down about a 100 feet of snow. It was wet but I was hot and didn't care!

At this point the already steep descent became even more steep or I was just too tired and exhausted, hot and dehydrated. I started crying and wanted it to end. We were still quite a ways up and I thought we would never make it down. Yet eventually after lots of crying and Cameron yelling at me that I could not sit down we arrived at the road.

I would love to say it was easy going from there but we were exhausted. We hiked at a very fast pace because we knew we were late for meeting Mike. We were running out of water and we were very hot but we didn't really stop to rest. It was a very stark environment along the back side of the mountains. The fire had burned out everything. All the trees were dead and nothing was growing except along side the creeks. I was surprised by the number of small creeks we crossed and Sierra was happy to have some water to drink since we were drinking the water we brought for Sierra. By one creek we saw a very large rattlesnake that Sierra wanted to play with. Sierra obeyed when we called her away and we moved away from the snake quickly.

After hiking for about an hour we passed a mile marker that said we had 2.75 miles to hike to get to Green Valley. Cameron looked a little green and said he didn't feel too good. He asked me to call his dad and see if he could drive down the dirt road. But we couldn't reach him so we just had to keep hiking. I put Annika on me and Cameron continued to look sick. All of a sudden I heard Mike yell, "Cameron." I was sure I was imagining things but then we heard his name yelled again.

We met Mike on the road and he had a cooler in one hand with gatorade and chocolate chip cookies. He was a lifesaver! I felt like the Martin Handcart company must have felt when they were met by the people from Salt Lake on the trail. Yes we still had to hike another 1 1/2 miles or so to the truck. But he was there to give us encouragement and supplies and he led us back to the truck. It was quite an adventure and although I don't intend on redoing it anytime soon I am definently bragging that I accomplished the hike!